When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Spectrum Center; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
The Hornets have lost four straight games, three of them at home and two of them to teams in the Western Conference cellar. Tonight’s opponent, the Pistons, sit in the bottom rungs of the Eastern Conference, but they aren’t expected to be there for long. Blake Griffin is back, though he’s only played in one game so far and might take some time to get back up to speed.
The real problem for the Hornets tonight is Andre Drummond. He’s having a monster season, averaging 19.9 points, 16.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.1 blocks, and 1.8 steals per game. He’s even bumped his free throw shooting up close to 70% and is shooting the occasional 3-pointer, even though he’s yet to make one. The Hornets have struggled all season to contain imposing big men on the interior, and Drummond is the most imposing they’ve faced all season.
Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard do most of the perimeter damage for the Pistons. Kennard is thriving in his third year after being almost universally panned as the 12th overall pick in the 2017 draft. He’s averaging a tick under 19 points per game and has led the Pistons in scoring in four of their last five. He’s knocking down three 3-pointers per game at a 41.4% clip.
Rose is having a career renaissance of sorts. He’s come off the bench in all but one of his seven appearances this season, but he’s far and away the best point guard on the roster. The ferocity and aggression he played with in his Bulls days have been replaced by experience and savvy. He’s a much more below the rim player than he used to be, but he’ll throw in the occasional dazzling acrobatic finish to remind you of the player he once was.
The Pistons have lost three straight against probably playoff teams, so there’s almost no chance they look past the Hornets tonight. They need a win badly.
The Hornets will be without Nicolas Batum for at least one more game as he recovers from a broken finger. Dwayne Bacon might be back tonight, depending on how his knee feels. If he does play, he’ll come off the bench with Devonte’ Graham taking his starting spot for the foreseeable future.
This is an important game for the Hornets, because the schedule is about to get really tough. The Hornets play seven of their next nine games on the road, with the two home games being separate one game stops before heading back out. The Raptors, Heat, and Bucks are among those road games. Wins are going to be hard to come by.